Even as I gaze out to the mountains and the wandering clouds, the tall pines and the browsing deer, a feeling of being adrift washes over me. As much as I am thankful to have a beautiful place to come home to, we are undecided where we’ll next be… perhaps, simply home is where we’ll stay?
It’s an adjustment, a transition, a fitting yourself into that square hole when, after almost thirty years of living in other countries, you feel more like a triangle – just that little bit different. Absolutely, the joys here in beautiful British Columbia are abundant. Time with family and friends, ambles through sun-dappled woods, puttering in my own garden, gazing at swathes of stars and the friendly moon that visits our flower infused deck.
Yet this past week as I unpacked and endeavoured to put some semblance to the house (and now the 40-foot container from India has arrived) that ‘other life’ needles its way in, and begs to be thought of. I do what I know to do best. I surround myself with those things that I have lovingly gathered from other places and times – the better to hold those memories close.
How did I describe them in Monday Morning Emails, ‘Jo, both of us have acquired this assortment of goods from other lands, which not only do we cherish, they are a reminder of where we’ve been; like battle scars earned.’
In my reality, they are priceless treasures and so I chose a place for my ‘wonder room’. Wonder rooms were an old phenomenon, especially in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, where collectors surrounded themselves (and showed off) their collectibles, artifacts, and unique keepsakes. They were literally rooms designed to evoke awe, wonder and enlightenment.
My wonder room is a place to escape, in which to work, to uplift and cheer me. It’s a loft area, a little dark in the daytime, but I can peek out to those beloved pines through tall, tall windows. A place that, in truth, is my touchstone. I give it a needed dusting and re-stage it; for my soul and for some balance. There have been moments in this past week where I’ve found it hard to recalibrate my life and this space seems to help.
So, I place some things into their new spots. The antique Indian globe that just journeyed through Europe in my suitcase and now sits beside another old globe, perched atop my dad’s travel-worn leather suitcase that he sailed with to the Far East, many moons ago.
I place an antique lock, spotted on a Greek island, as a paper weight on my desk. The desk itself is from back in the days when we lived in Oman.
Tiny glass measuring weights, discovered in a market in Holland, fit perfectly in a tray from Thailand, as if waiting just for them.
And the books, they too tell a story – of the day last month at the British Museum, the afternoon of Shakespeare, the interesting jute museum in Scotland, and so on and so on.
And there’s a stack of Monday Morning Emails. I take one and place it in ‘pride of place’ in my tall Indian bookshelf. When I closed up the house last October, I had dreamed that my own book would one day be placed on one of its shelves. And so, it has. Another reminder that life has moved forward and is a constant flow of learning, of growing through change, of listening to that inner voice.
Yes, my wonder room will keep me grounded, in the here and now of this lovely mountain town, yet also allow me to dream of my other lands….